THREE spiritual expeditions are making their way up Mount Everest this month, to pray on top of the world’s highest mountain.
A primary-school teacher, Jogabyasa Bhoi, from Orissa, India, seeks to spread the message of the Indian revolutionary Sri Aurobindo by making the climb. Mr Bhoi told Ecumenical News International: “Aurobindo believed India would have spiritual regeneration and become the leader of the world. He also said it would be proclaimed from the top of the world.”
Bhakta Kumar Rai, the founder of a sect, Heavenly Path, reached the top of Everest last Friday, carrying with him quotations from the Bible and the Qur’an, and Hindu and Buddhist texts. He meditated on the summit of the mountain for 27 hours, praying for peace.
A 36-year-old Nepalese woman from the Brahmakumaris sect, Sharada Kumari Rayamajhi, is also currently on a mission to climb the mountain, as part of the “Prayer, meditation, and request for world peace on the top of the world” team.
There have been many successful climbs, but the altitude and cold can be fatal. Three people have died this month of high-altitude sickness while trying to reach the summit.
More pilgrimages are planned for next year. They include one by a group from Costa Rica, and another by a man from Chicago, who plans to climb in memory of Martin Luther King’s mountain-top speech, which he made the day before he was assassinated.